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The Institute

Leadership is an interaction between individuals in a given environment that motivates and directs action toward a shared goal. Understanding and mastery are interdisciplinary, nuanced, and developed over the long-term.

The Russell G. Hamilton Leadership Institute (GLI) is one of the four Graduate Education and Research Endowment (GERE) initiatives announced in 2017, following Chancellor Zeppos’ pledge to protect and cultivate discovery and learning in his 2016 faculty address. The GLI has been tasked to “enhance the quality of the graduate educational experience through innovative research and scholarship programs, and provide professional leadership training and career development.” Additional recommendations by the ad hoc Graduate Education and Research Endowment Faculty Committee, include a “focus on interdisciplinary team building activities with an emphasis on social, community and global engagement, as well as host a competitive graduate TIPS program to support innovative research and scholarship initiatives by the students [2].”

Mission Statement

The mission of the Graduate Leadership Institute at Vanderbilt University is to provide graduate students with the tools to thrive in leadership roles at all levels and the ability to recognize and develop leadership skills in themselves and others. We do so by facilitating opportunities for professional and academic development across a wide range of academic disciplines, as well as fostering interdisciplinary collaboration among students.


  • Develop a meaningful curriculum that will be value added for all graduate students with future leadership aspirations within and beyond the academy.
  • Empower graduate students to develop their own workable definition of leadership and gain a deeper sense of who they are as leaders.
  • Emphasize personal agency by teaching students how to maximize learning opportunities from their own experiences through increased awareness of their mindset and approach (how to learn leadership from their own real world experience).
  • Broaden student’s skill set, awareness of transferable skills, and personal and interpersonal perspective.
  • Provide training that will give students an increased competitive advantage in academic or non-academic career tracks post-graduation.

Annual Reports

Russell G. Hamilton Graduate Leadership Institute 2019-2020 Annual Report 

Russell G. Hamilton Graduate Leadership Institute 2019-2020 Annual Report